Monday, December 29, 2008


Listen to BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE by George Akaeze & His Augmented Hits.

Hello readers! With the coming of the new year, we've reached a milestone of sorts here. It's been two years of regular posting, with around 400 songs picked, blogged, downloaded and commented on. Much of the picking and the blogging has been done by our very able guest bloggers, John, Jason, Laura, Corbett, Stu, & Chris, and for that I owe them all a big hand. The bulk of it, though, obviously, has been me, and it's time for me to scale back, to what degree I can't yet say. Posting four times a week takes some time & inspiration, and I've had less and less of both, especially as my computer has entered middle age along with me. Things just run slower.

I'm speaking for me only--John and Jason may or may not be keeping up their regular Friday slots, depending on how they feel--but I won't be posting with any regularity for the foreseeable future. We'll see how it goes. Thanks to all of you for visiting, and happy new year!



Friday, December 26, 2008

First Day of My Life

Listen to FIRST DAY OF MY LIFE by Bright Eyes.

Jason dropping in.

Conor Oberst is the voice of Bright Eyes. And he came to my attention in 2005 amidst claims that he was "the new Dylan" on the back of the album that this was taken from ("I'm Wide Awake, Its Morning"). I saw him play this year with The Mystic Valley Band and he was off - that's ok, he was ill, I forgive him.

I like his songs. They tell stories. They can take you places. And most of the ones I like have the same trait - they all seem to raise it up a gear midway through the track. Not quite a trucker's gear change but "up" none-the-less.

But its the video that's the reason for this post (and maybe a little seasoning of lurve) - its a polariser - you'll either think they nailed it, or you'll be thinking "barf it up schmaltzoid".

There are other videos in this category:

The closing scene of Juno? Works.

The Elton John singalong in Almost Famous? Works.

The drunken Manilow in Hellboy 2? Does NOT work (how did this EVER work on paper?)

Anyway, you be the judge. I, however, dig.

Photo: GOLD COAST, 2008. Photo taken by Jason Bryant.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Lights

This is a special post directed pretty much only to the family. Windy & I finally tracked down the real Lucho a few months ago and we're happy we'll be able to listen to his Christmas album tonight and tomorrow.

In memory of Grandpa Wayman and all of our loved ones who have passed before us.

Photo: Christmas lights.


Monday, December 22, 2008

"Twelve Times"

"Twelve Times" (front cover)
Listen to AIN'T NO BIG THING by Jimmy James And The Vagabonds.

Download the 2008 mix here.

Happy Holidays! Here is this year's holiday mix, hot off the presses. Not sure I have anything to say about it. I wanted to do something nice and easy, something you can play while you clean up on Sunday afternoon, or borrow from if you're DJ'ing your New Years Eve do.

The two things that made this was, I've known for a year that the first song here would be the first song -- the "Twelve!" announcement signifies that this is the twelfth mix that we've done since Amy and I have been together (and that's all the title really means too), and also, I wanted to do mostly Northern Soul tunes from the vaults, which I did for the most part, but I did get away from that a little bit with each successive draft. Thanks to John and Stu in particular -- a lot of these songs are actually theirs. Thievery. I try not to be deliberately obscurantist, so hopefully you'll recognize a lot of these songs, but not be bored by them. That's it. Ain't no big thing. Ho ho ho!

Download the 2008 mix here.

"Twelve Times" (back cover)
Photos: "Twelve Times" // Tunes for 2008 (front and back covers).


Friday, December 19, 2008


I Hate Hate!
Listen to WALKIN' UP A ONE WAY STREET by Willie Tee.

Oh how I love this song. There's something about the way those horns snake their way up the scale that makes me just want to play the song over and over. It's been that way for years.

This mix was made for Amy's 30th birthday. I seem to recall passing out copies of it plus another one at her birthday party. I also remember picking these songs while I was out Hawaii for our friend Jimmie's wedding. All of these tunes remind me a little bit of driving around Maui with the top down on my rented convertible (most rental cars over there were convertibles).

Overall this is a solid mix that's held up pretty well. The predicted electoral map on the cover didn't do as well, alas!

Photo: I Hate Hate!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


Total Destruction To Your Catfish

This mix I did in August 2005 might be my favorite one I ever put together. The song selection was really strong. It had a lot of tunes that not too many people would know, but were high quality. It maintained a consistent "swamp rock" vibe through the whole thing, and the cover was pretty great too.

Take today's song. Some of you may have heard of Tony Joe White, or maybe a song like Polk Salad Annie. But I doubt many of you have heard Saturday Night. And it just kills. Two minutes of redneck funk, totally laid back, confident, swingin.' It's a great tune and I was really proud of myself for tracking it down!

The sad thing is, not too many people ever heard this mix. I made a bunch of copies at the end of August to pass out to people (this is before the blog, of course), and then Hurricane Katrina showed up. It's a good reminder to myself how traumatic that event was to me (to all of us), just watching it on TV, that I decided it would be in poor taste to distribute this little mix CD that has basically nothing to do with anything, but has the word destruction...and involves water...and music you might hear in Louisiana.

Photo: Total Destruction To Your Catfish.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Jah Monty
Listen to I'M SO PROUD by Joe White.

This mix from 2002 is a tiny bit awkward in retrospect. It's a mix of Afrobeat and reggae--which is fine--but it doesn't really stretch out or dig too deep. Thing is, I was aware of this at the time, but I wanted the mix to be reflective of what I had actually been listening to that year, and I was just getting into Jamaican & African music in a meaningful way.

IIRC, we met Stu right around the time I finished this, and I got swamped with so much great Jamaican stuff that I never looked back. I can't even imagine how I put together such a mix before getting Stu's collection, or what the point would be.

None of that is to say this particular song isn't good. It's wonderful, in fact, and I much prefer it to the Curtis Mayfield original. It should be downloaded by everyone.

(The title, which was Amy's, was in loving memory of my maternal Grandfather.)

Photo: Jah Monty.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Designed By Committee
Listen to GIRA by Vanessinha & Alessandra.

In 2005 we had a new dog (hence the cover), plus my sister was living at our apartment and so we all got a vote as to what was on or off the Christmas CD (hence the title).

2005 was also the year that baile funk really broke out into the quasi-mainstream (thanks M.I.A. and Diplo!), so there were a whole lot of tunes, such as Gira, that all of a sudden were available for download. I kinda doubt Gira was even recorded in 2005, but I don't know the slightest thing about it except it's super catchy and over in two minutes. And that it was voted on the holiday mix, of course...

Photo: 2005: Designed by Committee.


Monday, December 15, 2008


One More Round, Bartender...It's Christmas

Listen to OKLAHOMA HOME BREW by Hank Thompson & His Brazos Valley Boys.

This week I thought I would go back through some of our past mixes just for fun. The mix we did in 2003 might be the best one and most popular. It was called "One More Round, Bartender...It's Christmas." Basically a collection of some of my favorite country music tunes, so it's heavy on the classics.

And it's also heavy on songs about Oklahoma (understandable if you know where I grow up). I started tracking down as many "Oklahoma" songs as I could a few years ago, basically as soon as I started going to There, you can enter in song titles, or parts of song titles, so I would enter in "oklahoma" in the search function and just write down any tracks that looked interesting. I eventually found this CD at J&R music, I'm pretty sure in August 2003. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had the first track for the Christmas CD that year.

Photo: One More Round Bartender...It's Christmas!


Friday, December 12, 2008

(Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song


Jason dropping in.

Growing up on a farm outside a small Australian country town (population: 20,000), music options were pretty limited. Exposure certainly wasn't through the local AM radio station. The few shows on TV helped a little (Molly Meldrum on "Countdown", Donnie Sutherland on "Sounds", Rock Arena.....), but it was the magazines that brought the wider world of music to our doorstep - especially for bands that had been and gone. Reading about them was one thing - you'd then have to work out how to get a hold of their back catalogue. Maybe you got lucky in the local bargain bin. Otherwise you had to wait until a trip to the big smoke (Canberra).

In the case of Led Zeppelin IV, it was a musically-enlightened class-mate (there must have been, hell, two of them).

And so I found "Going to California".

Someone told me there's a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair
To find a queen without a king,
They say she plays guitar and cries and sings
I used to wonder who Robert Plant had in my mind.....

A year later I found Heart. This time it was their 1985 smash "What About Love". I thought it was their debut single until a metal mag pointed out their back catalogue to me (no internet in those days). So again, the trawl.

And theirs has been an interesting progression - starting with folk, to rock, through to the power-pop of the 80s ("Alone" is now one of those "Moment" songs on American Idol - its all about the Capital-M-Moment maaaaan), on to indie associations (guitarist Nancy Wilson married Cameron Crowe and helped compile the "Almost Famous" soundtrack") and Seattle-cred - the Wilson sisters formed The Lovemongers and released an EP that included Zeppelin's own "Battle of Evermore". Zeppelin bassist, John Paul Jones, even produced their 1995 live acoustic album.

But the first album I got a hold of (other than 85's "Heart", of course, probably the reason I thought it was their debut) was "Dreamboat Annie" (a bargain bin double cassette bundled with their "Little Queen" album).

To my ears, older sister and singer Ann Wilson, who grew up in southern California, was the girl Robert Plant had in mind. "(Love Me Like Music) I'll Be Your Song" is not a song I can listen to twice in a row. But when it appears at random on the pod, I slow my pace breathing gets a little wistful....yes, Robert's girl would sing something like "If you love me like music, I'll be your song."

That album is loaded with (gulp) easy listening folk music that would not have been out of place on 2GN. There are songs I prefer on that album - Soul Of The Sea, How Deep It Goes, Dreamboat Annie itself......but its this song that had Robert reaching California, finding Ann, as the guitar slides:
Can you feel the light shine
You now this song's yours and mine

Photo: ST TROPEZ. Taken by Jason Bryant


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It's like that

One last apology, no more promises. So, it seems it's a lot harder to get back in the blog habit once you break it. So, sorry for not having any new material for you this week, and I'm not going to promise anything new before Christmas, at least not from me.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hi dere

I hope you've been enjoying my sabbatical week as much as I have!

I've mostly stayed away from music all week, giving my ears a rest before I focus on our annual holiday mix. The only thing I've really been listening to is this album by Bran Nu Classix. I feel like I'd like to shill for them a little bit, even though I guess it's not shilling since I paid retail for the album! They are two degrees of separation from me since my friend Freddie went to school with them way back when, and he's working on a documentary for them too. But that's all I know. Anyway, this is fresh & easy hip hop for any of you craving that.

I also had one more listen to Andrew Vladeck's new EP. I don't think I ever did a review of his release party concert, and won't do one now, except to remark at how tough he's gotten his banjo to sound lately. I mean, the set was pretty much just him and his banjo, and he was acting like he was rockin out the Mercury Lounge. And he was! I don't really know how much he's been touring lately but he seemed on the top of his game. Anyway, go pay retail for his EP or even just go download it.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Photo: Sneak peek at Trump Soho.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008



Photo: Lighthouse.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Drive In _otel


Photo: Drive In _otel.


Bummin' around


There will be no tunes from me this week, as I start to focus on this year's holiday mix. If any of our many guest bloggers want to share something, they are more than welcome to, otherwise, I'll start rolling things out next week.

I've also got a backlog of eight million blog photos, so you'll at least have a few of those to keep you entertained.

Photo: Bummin' around.


Saturday, November 29, 2008


Listen to THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY "NI!" by Monty Python.

A bit of fun for a Sunday night.


Friday, November 28, 2008


Listen to Yeah! by Cosmic Rhythm Society.

Jason dropping in.

Not much is known about Cosmic Rhythm Society. I've heard rumours that they are an extended fictional front of "Consumer Recreation Services" from David Fincher's 1997 film "The Game". Wiki ominously describes the film:

As the lines between the banker's real life and the game become more and more uncertain, there are hints of a larger conspiracy.

They seem to have been a percussion trio - but witnesses of their playing days have been hard to find......some have mysteriously disappeared. The National Trust cobbled together oblique references from the internet and "personal communications" to suggest that CRS cut a debut album with Festival/Mushroom records in 2000, yet no copies of the album exist.

Garbled ramblings appeared for a while on the net with the words "Bang On", "five six seven eight eleven" and a cryptic reference to a "furious golden egg" (was this an easter egg in itself?).... but these, too, swiftly vanished - even from google's own indexes.

Maybe The Game continues. An elaborate triple-twisting hoax. All I know is that this track is absolutely bang on. One of the finest pieces of percussive mayhem I've ever heard. Don't ask me how I came to get a hold of it. But if you could tell me more about these 3, I'd like to know.

Photo: CRS Headquarters? Time and Place unknown.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Listen to THANKFUL N' THOUGHTFUL by Sly and the Family Stone.

One of the best offerings from "Fresh." Enough said. Can I haz turkee, etc.

Photo: New York detail (4).


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Listen to THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BE MYSELF by Maceo and All The King's Men.

Maceo Parker, his hot hot James Brown backing band, covering one of Sly's funkiest offerings, what more can you ask for? To all of you, safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: New York detail (3).


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Listen to THE THANKS WE GET by Junior Byles.

One thing about these "themed" weeks is you get to pick songs you might not otherwise pick. I've always loved Junior Byles, but if I had a free hand to pick any of his sides, it might not be--probably wouldn't be--this one.

The Thanks We Get is a Black Ark production, which means it's likely to be awesome, but also it might be pretty weird. In that regard this is a typical Lee Perry offering. The oddest feature of all is that Lee has his young son Omar toasting over the top of Junior Byles's vocals. And "toasting" is a pretty generous description of what's going on! At one point little Omar just kinda babbles "Poppa! Poppa! Poppa!" squarely in the middle of the mix. It's kinda cute, kinda annoying, just like Double Dutch Bus, but even stranger.

Photo: New York detail (2).


Monday, November 24, 2008


Listen to THANK YOU... by Sveti.

No prizes for the theme of the songs this week. First off is an offering from Sveti's release "Where I Come From," which we mentioned earlier this year. Our friend Marko is rightfully proud of this record and has been touring it hard all year. A couple of us caught him Saturday night in the neighborhood and the band sounded great, and Marko was as gonzo as ever.

It was a long day Saturday. First, drinking out of grief, then out of celebration, and finally because the Blue Note requires it. As a result I took a short nap just before Sveti's last song, then nearly got lost on the five minute walk home....

Marko at the Blue Note

Photo: New York detail (1).


Friday, November 21, 2008


Listen to THE FLOWERS AND THE WINE by Pete Atkin.

John again. I have no idea who Pete Atkin is, honestly. I stumbled across a mention of his albums as *very* British and thought “that’s for me then”. But *very* British means just that: *very*. Not, say, Nick Drake British, who made great tunes and just happened to be British as well. No, *very* British means something else entirely that I couldn’t adequately explain, and Pete Atkin seems to speak this voice… which is odd, because his lyrics were penned by an Australian, Clive James. Must not fall far from the tree.

Anyway, Pete and Clive had a good thing going for a time in the 70s, with a 6-album partnership on RCA and a solid following. When that ebbed, Pete tried his luck as a carpenter, before ending back up in showbiz in the radio production side of things. He even provided one of the voices for a “Wallace and Gromit” character. Oh, and as a freelance radio producer he churned out a 216-part (!) history of Britain which took 14 months to broadcast. *Very* British indeed.

Photo: snow.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Listen to THERE IS NO MORE TO SAY by The Millennium.

Unfortunately, due to real life constraints, I don't have time to do a long write-up about, and thereby at least attempt to do justice to, the awesomeness of The Millennium.

Check back in the comments later for more detailed discussion, perhaps, but basically I'm firmly of the opinion that this album is the best 60s California pop record ("'Pet Sounds" for buddhist paranoiacs'") you haven't ever heard of. Think about that.

Photo: Neighborhood bracing (4).


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Listen to SELF-ANALYSIS by The Smoke.

Today's song is a return performance by The Smoke, a group first featured in one of John's posts from this summer. John's song, Cowboys and Indians, was the archetypal album opening mini-epic. My song is the "track three" ballad, the one with the best pop hooks. Also, like Cowboys and Indians, it's a Beach Boys fan letter, which gets you most of the way on to this blog at least.

Plus it's very Freudian, you know.

Here's a little biographical detail about Michael Lloyd (who wrote, recorded, and produced the album) that John didn't get to:

At the tender age of 20, Lloyd was appointed vice-president of MGM by Mike Curb and his first production job, Lou Rawls's Natural Man, won a Grammy. After that he turned out hits for teen sensations like The Osmonds and Shaun Cassidy, later producing Belinda Carlisle, Barry Manilow and, most lucratively, the multi-million selling soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.

That's a story of realized ambition if I've ever read one.

Photo: Neighborhood bracing (3).